Ben Whishaw comes out, confirms that he civil partner’d an Aussie composer

I’ve loved Ben Whishaw since the first time I ever saw him. I believe that was Layer Cake, where he had a minor role as a skeevy little guy who was into Sienna Miller. Then I saw him in the remake of Brideshead Revisited, and his performance was the standout of a mediocre film – he was delicate and beautiful and tragic and amazing. My interest in him continued throughout The Hour, and most recently to his wonderful new gig as “Q” in the James Bond franchise (he was introduced in Skyfall). Anyway, I’ve always sort of assumed he was gay. He never came out and confirmed anything, and he just seemed to be in that school of actors who say “Whatever you want to think is fine, I’m not talking about it.” One time, a reporter “assumed” he was straight and Ben didn’t correct him. But at some point, I guess we learned that he has a boyfriend. And not just that – Ben and his man just got civil partner’d.

He has always been notoriously discreet about his private life, but now it can be revealed that actor Ben Whishaw has entered into a civil partnership. The 32-year-old star ‘married’ his partner, Australian composer Mark Bradshaw, in Sydney last August. The couple met on the set of Jane Campion’s 2009 film Bright Star, about John Keats’s heartbreaking love affair with neighbour Fanny Brawne before his untimely death from TB.

Whishaw played Keats in the film, while 30-year-old Mr Bradshaw composed the score. The actor, widely hailed for his brilliance on stage and screen, thrilled audiences last year with his quirky high-tech take on MI6 boffin Q in the Bond film Skyfall.

His sexuality has been the subject of a lively internet debate in recent years. Speculation was sparked by an interview he gave to the gay magazine Out in March 2011 while playing a homosexual character in an off-Broadway play, The Pride.

When the interviewer asked whether it was important for young gay people to have positive role models, Whishaw replied: ‘I feel in my heart that it’s important, but I don’t quite know yet the way to go about that. Maybe that’s the transitional thing I feel I’m in the middle of at the moment.’

Last night Whishaw’s spokesman confirmed the civil partnership, saying: ‘Ben has never hidden his sexuality, but like many actors he prefers not to discuss his family or life outside of his work. Due to speculation, I can confirm that Ben and Mark entered into a civil partnership in August 2012. They were proud to do so and are very happy.’

A friend of the couple, who live in Hackney, East London, said: ‘Everyone’s delighted for them. Mark’s a lovely guy, very talented and very close to Jane Campion. There hasn’t been a chance for a big celebration because of Ben’s schedule but I’m sure there will be one at some point.’

Last week the pair attended a party at the King’s Cross Viewing Platform in Central London to mark the opening of an exhibition at the Cob Gallery, which is co-owned by the playwright Polly Stenham.

Whishaw grew up in Bedfordshire in a wholly untheatrical family. His mother Linda worked at the cosmetics counter in John Lewis while his father Jose played football for Stevenage before moving into a career in IT. He also has a twin brother, James, who is 6ft tall and fair.

Whishaw is widely regarded as one of the most naturally gifted actors of his generation. When Trevor Nunn cast him as the youngest-ever Hamlet at the Old Vic in 2004, one critic said: ‘This is the kind of evening of which legends are made.’

Whishaw then moved effortlessly between stage film and television, playing aristocrat Sebastian Flyte in the remake of Brideshead Revisited and starring in the BBC2 newsroom drama The Hour.

In an interview to promote Skyfall last year, he answered questions about his private life, saying: ‘For me, it’s important to keep a level of anonymity. As an actor, your job is to persuade people that you’re someone else. So if you’re constantly telling people about yourself, I think you’re shooting yourself in the foot.’

Rising star Mr Bradshaw composed the score for Campion’s current BBC mini-series Top Of The Lake, starring Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss, and for her short films The Lady Bug and The Water Diary. He was just 25 when he wrote the acclaimed score for Bright Star.

At the time, Campion said he reminded her of Keats, adding: ‘We’re making this film about a young genius, so you’ve got to take a risk.’

[From The Mail]

I’ve read some comments about how The Daily Mail “outed” Ben in this article, but I don’t think that’s really what happened? The Mail got a tip that Ben married his boyfriend, they asked for confirmation from Ben’s publicist, and they got it. So they ran the story. Besides, I think Ben was already sort of “out” (he was just private) and everybody already knew anyway. Whatever. Congrats to Ben and his partner/husband! Huzzah.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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45 Responses to “Ben Whishaw comes out, confirms that he civil partner’d an Aussie composer”

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  1. notpretentious says:

    I love his voice. It is such a standout. He should read for audible books.

  2. Sixer says:

    I think, Kaiser, it’s a case of generally having his hand forced by the scuzzy British press to make a formal statement.

    It’s all following on from the ludicrous fuss over gay marriage legislation made by politicians and the press alike – when the population at large thought it was a move along please, nothing of interest here non-issue (most Brits see civil partnerships as gay marriage and the whole issue sorted out ten years ago). But papers like the Fail just don’t want to let it go.

    But, like you say, he’s never been “not out”. Even the Daily Fail won’t get much interest over it.

    On a lighter note – I LOVE this guy. Luminous actor and the most beautiful, kind eyes I’ve ever seen. I would like to just sit him on my sofa and get him to look at me. Forever. So y’know. In SixerFantasyLand, he can be as gay as he likes. I just want his eyes.

    • Anna says:

      I think the more we’re treating it like ‘no big deal’ – which it shouldnt be, what’s the last time anyone came out as straight – the less of a news-making it’s gonna be. Kudos to Ben.

    • moon says:

      People in the UK are a lot more open minded about issues like race and sexuality. (I’m not british, but I lived there for 5 years.) Homosexuality is not seen as a big deal the way it is here in america, people are who they are and no one thinks that’s not normal. So there’s less of a fuss.

    • Sixer says:

      I think, what it could be, is that we don’t really have a religious lobby in the UK. Fewer people are religious and those that are tend to be private about it. Also more moderate.

      In my travels, online and off, it’s always seemed to me that most Americans are relaxed about homosexuality. But the minority who aren’t are often that way because of religious beliefs and are very vocal. Those who shout loudest often end up with disproportionate influence. I may be wrong of course, but from the outside looking in, that’s how it seems.

      • Nerd Alert says:


        Well put. That is the case in the U.S.: the extremely religious/conservative are indeed in the minority but their voices are heard disproportionately loudly. It extends to the entire political arena. Other examples include firearm and abortion regulation…social issues like that.

      • Sixer says:

        Exactly. I think the UK has its proportional share of bigots too. But the body politic’s general reaction to social change in the UK is pretty much muted. The fogies mutter a bit about about what it’s all coming to, but they’re not really that bothered. They just like to moan.

  3. Birdie says:

    He was brilliant in The Perfume! Congrats to them.

    • Liv says:

      He was so creepy! ;-)

      It’s so funny that you can tell if some people are gay or straight but have no idea when it comes to others. I would have never thought that he’s gay.

      Congrats for the wedding!

    • Spooks says:

      I fell in love with him in Bright Star. He’s so amazing. Congrats!

  4. Lauli says:

    Congratulations, Ben.

    What a great actor. Loved his Richard II

  5. T.Fanty says:

    Congrats to the lovely and extremely talented Ben Whishaw but screw the Mail for making this an issue against his wishes. The man works harder than any professional out there to maintain his privacy and this is an absolute invasion.

    • Sixer says:

      My understanding is that the picture of them doing the rounds was a ripped-off, meant-to-be-private Facebook photo. So yes, scuzzy invasion of privacy forced Whishaw’s hand. Sigh.

      • Monty says:

        Is his facebook account public? If not how did Daily Mail get those pics?

        I honestly think that treating homosexual public figures like theirs is a dirty secret that must not be publicly mentioned is part of the problem. A publication that writes about every single aspect of hetero celebs (see Simon Cowells articles), shouldnt demur at writing about gay couples.

        If he were straight and a tabloid found out he was secretly married, would it not publish? Dont they publish far more sensitive material eg mental health issues, drug addictions, infidelities, adoptions and surrogacies? You cant normalise homosexuality until you treat gay stories as you do straight ones.

      • Sixer says:

        I really am not sure, Monty. It was just a comment I think I read. I didn’t look too closely – just noticed because I am a big fan of Whishaw.

        I’m conflicted about all this. I agree normalisation is the way to go but a) it doesn’t happen overnight and b) the story wasn’t really “secret marriage” it was “we can out someone by pretending his marriage was secret when he didn’t try to hide it but didn’t make an announcement about it either”.

        I don’t get hot under the collar if someone who uses PR and bearding contracts to pretend to be straight gets outed (although even then I feel uncomfortable).

        What I really think – I think! – is this: everyone in the industry and everyone in the press knows which people play the PR game and which don’t. If they are players then they’re fair game and if they get bitten on the bum I’m not going to shed any tears for them. If they’re not and they’re hounded, I’m going to get cross about it.

      • Monty says:


        I guess that feels fair. If you live privately then you should be off radar for tabloids. Except plenty of straight celebs live quietly and still have their private lives written about. Take Keanu for instance. Every few months theres a piece about a lady he was hanging with, even though he is notoriously private.

        I think we either rage about ALL articles written about private folk irrespective of content. Or we accept that all subjects are “fair game” for gossip.

      • Monty says:


        I guess that feels fair. If you live privately then you should be off radar for tabloids. Except plenty of straight celebs live quietly and still have their private lives written about. Take Keanu for instance. Every few months theres a piece about a lady he was hanging with, even though he is notoriously private.

        I think we either rage about ALL articles written about private folk irrespective of content. Or we accept that all subjects are “fair game” for gossip.

      • T.Fanty says:


        I just wanted to chime in and say that sexuality isn’t the issue here – for me, anyway. I adore Whishaw and have read many interviews with him in which he clearly declines to discuss whether he is in a relationship. By all accounts, he is a very soft and gentle person, so if he chooses to draw a line in the sand about his personal life, then it isn’t my right to know.

      • Lauli says:


        Very well put and I totally agree with you. I don’t like the double standard and I fear it shows that there’s no real equality and acceptance of different sexual orientations, despite the good intentions.

  6. Amelia says:

    Ah, congrats to them :) But I completely agree with T.Fanty – the Daily Fail is on the cusp of becoming a tabloid at the moment. Tossers.
    But, what I really want to know is – what happened to Freddie in The Hour?!!! I can’t believe the show was cancelled. They can’t just leave us in the lurch like that!

  7. mom2two says:

    Yeah, I don’t think he shouted it from the rooftops or anything. I always thought he was out and no one made a big deal about it. Congrats to him and his husband!

  8. Downton fan says:

    You should see him in “Perfume: the story of a murderer” alongside Dustin Hoffman

  9. Val says:

    I love him and I loved him as Keats in Bright Star. Congrats to him.

    • Vesta says:

      He was excellent in Bright Star; and just broke my heart in that movie…

      He didn’t mean to make it public, but what can I say but Congratulations!

    • L says:

      I loved that movie even as it was breaking my heart.

    • LB says:

      On gosh. What a beautiful movie. Amazing acting in it as well. I bought book of Keats poetry after that and usually take it with me when I travel.

      Congrats to him and his partner.

  10. allons-y alonso says:

    Congratulations!!! Ben Whishaw is just so captivating and brilliant and every other positive adjective I can think of! An actor and human being I truly respect.

    Also, Stuff you, Daily Mail.

  11. MyLittlePony says:

    So happy for my precious boy! His reading of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale stays with me until the end of days.

  12. T.C. says:

    Congrats to Ben. I hate that gay actors have to have their privacy invaded, forced to make public statements about their sexuality.

    • Barhey says:

      I didn’t really see it that way. I think if any major celebrity/model/whatever had a status up that said they had been married, the news would report on it. It’s less of an outing of sexuality and more of an outing of his marital status, which we do every day on this site with straight actors.

  13. slightly peeved says:

    Congratulations to them both. He is a fantastic actor. I was lucky enough to see him in London last June in “Peter and Alice”, with Judi Denchi. Normally we only buy reduced price tickets, but I had to see him (and Dame Judi) in that play so the ticket price was not ever a consideration.

    And I don’t understand at all why people care about actors’ sexuality. It’s none of our business and what difference does it make? Private is private.

  14. j.eyre says:

    I just saw Bright Star and the music is lovely. Congratulations to the couple and many years of happiness. Mr. Whishaw is always a delight to watch.

  15. Aud says:

    Unlike many other actors, he is a standout in that he is great in everything he is in.
    You can’t say the same for other big name actors today [Clooney, Pitt, Butler, etc].

  16. MissMary says:

    It bothers me that some media is calling this a “secret” marriage. It’s private, not secret. I think it’s great he and his partner married and feel bad that they were forced to make a statement due to media speculation (esp after a year of being able to keep it private). I don’t think it’s “omg Whishaw is out of the closet!” so much as Whishaw is notoriously, intensely private about his personal life and was forced to acknowledge an aspect of it because, likely, the Fail or something was going to run story about the civil partnership.

  17. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    He’s 30?!

    Oh my God, I thought he was early twenties at most-he looks like a kid. Cute, though.

  18. Leah says:

    Everyone knew he was gay. This isnt news, and he married a year ago. Its public record so obviously he is not hiding anything.

  19. Lucy says:

    He’s wonderful!!! All the best for him and his partner.
    EDIT: My only concern is that he starts getting the Bomer treatment (in which he gets constantly asked about his sexual orientation as if that was all he’s about).

  20. eo says:

    He has the most beautiful hair. I always get hair envy when I see him.

  21. Lisa says:

    OK, so I had no idea, but then again, I don’t really pay any attention to this sort of thing. Congratulations to him and his partner. He’s a great actor. I’ve loved him in everything I’ve seen him in, which I cannot say for most actors.

  22. LilyRose says:

    Masel tov to the happy couple!

  23. bella bella says:

    LOVE Ben Whishaw. If you haven’t yet, check out The Hour — one of the best, intelligent shows on TV. He was fantastic. With a great leading lady opposite Ben and McNulty from the Wire playing a different kind of cad. Oona Chaplin also great.

    I want them to make a season 3, please please…

  24. WendyNerd says:

    LOVE. LOVE. LOVE HIM. He’s amazing… so talented, humble, and sweet.

    I just hope PerezHilton doesn’t decide to make Ben into some sort of pet project now that he is “out” (was he ever in?). He does that sometimes.

  25. tealily says: